By RANDI ROSSMANN
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
It was a political dunk-off.
For about a half-hour each, Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo and election rival former Supervisor Ernie Carpenter worked the dunk tank Sunday in a fundraiser for the Sebastopol Little League.
But it wasn’t voters at Laguna Park taking their shots trying to sink the two candidates in June’s primary election.
Instead, the fastballs came from children ages 3 to about 12, far below the legal voting age, who by all accounts had no idea whom they were dunking into the cold water.
“Probably kids aren’t very political at this age,” joked mom Jeannie Starkey, whose son Kyle, 11, dropped one of the two politicians into the drink. (She didn’t know which one.)
Carrillo, 30, who represents the west county, is being challenged in his re-election bid by Carpenter, who held the seat from 1980 to 1996. Former Santa Rosa Councilwoman Veronica Jacobi also is running for the job but apparently didn’t attend Sunday’s event.
Carpenter, 69, wearing shorts and a wetsuit shirt under a light jacket for his turn, said it had been 20 years since he’d sat on a dunk tank.
“Hold your breath” was the only thing he thought he needed to remember.
First to step to the throwing line was 4-year-old Aaron Ziegler.
The little Giant, wearing a bright orange jersey, a cap and a huge smile, lightly tapped the target on his first throw.
Carrillo, in a bathing suit and T-shirt, slipped off the seat into the water.
Preston Davis, 10, used his four-seam fastball and dunked both politicians.
He didn’t care who he soaked but he was stoked about his throws, declaring it “amazing” and “awesome.”
One dad said he knew Carrillo was one of the men in the tank and that there was another guy, from a long time ago.
“I can’t remember the name,” said Michael Waldo, whose son Calum, 7, successfully dropped one of the two.
What did Calum think about dunking a politician?
“He just wanted to knock someone into the tank,” Waldo said.
Cynics may say politicians will do anything for publicity. But both Carpenter and Carrillo said it had nothing to do with politics and everything to do with helping the Little League, which charged $2 for three throws.
Embracing the effort, the two men each encouraged their would-be dunkers, joking and calling out to the crowd to help drum up business.
Little League leaders were appreciative.
“The dunk tank sales were up over last year,” said Trey Dunia, activities organizer.
What will they do next year, when there is no county supervisor race?
“We’ll get some Green party members from the Sebastopol City Council in there,” Dunia laughed.
You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 521-5412 or email@example.com.